SHAFAQNA – Sickening racist abuse regularly posted by warped trolls on Facebook — worsened since the Brexit vote — depicts ethnic minorities as “scum”, “rapists” and “terrorists” and orders them to leave the UK, Daily Star Online has found.
The UK voted to leave the EU in June.
But last year net migration to the UK rose to around 333,000 — the second-highest figure ever.
Since the vote migrants and specific religious groups — notably Muslims — have suffered shocking abuse online.
And social media has represented these minorities as threats to national security and criminals for years, it has emerged.
It comes days after a nationwide #BlackAugust campaign raising awareness of racism blocked roads, including access to Heathrow Airport.
The investigation found hundreds of instances of anti-Muslim hate alone on Facebook, calling Muslims “terrorists”, “rapists”, claiming Muslim women are national security threats, ordering Muslims to be deported and posts referring to a “war” between Muslims and “us”.
The offenders included far right groups, such as the English Brotherhood, but also twisted fantasists determined to spread hate.
Shockingly, even councillors’ posts were found to be slurs.
Cllr Tim Paul Hicks, who represents UKIP on Shepshed Town Council in Leicestershire, is under investigation after allegedly making a series of anti-Muslim Facebook posts.
He is accused of putting up a spate of racist images between July 10 and July 20 before the account was taken down five days later.
One chilling picture allegedly showed a grenade with the caption: “Hotline to Allah. Pull pin, hold to ear, then wait for dial code.”
Accompanying the picture was a message saying: “ISIS HQ want to chat to you about Suicide Bomber Training School. Apparently, you missed a lesson.”
Another post showed tiara placed on top of a full burka and read: “Miss Saudi Arabia”. There was also an image of a dog wearing a towel as a veil.
Cllr Hick refused to comment on the allegations.
A spokesman from Progressive Leicestershire, a liberal political group, said of the posts: “They don’t belong in 21st century Britain. They never have. I find it appalling.”
Birmingham City University carried out the harrowing research.
Dr Imran Awan, associate professor in criminology at Birmingham City University, said: “The types of abuse and hate speech against Muslim communities on Facebook uncovered real problematic associations with Muslims being deemed as terrorists and rapists.
“Muslim women wearing the veil are used as an example of a security threat. Muslims are viewed in the lens of security and war. This is particularly relevant for the far-right who are using English history and patriotism as a means to stoke up anti-Islamic hate with the use of a war analogy.
“For example, after posting an image about eating British breakfast, a comment posted by one of the users, was: ‘For every sausage eaten or rasher of bacon we should chop of a Muslims head’.
“The worry is that such comments could lead to actual offline violence and clearly groups such as this, are using Facebook to promote racial tensions and disharmony.”
A spokesman from Facebook said the social media site does not tolerate direct attacks on race, ethncity or religion.
He added the site allows users to report any comment they feel is offensive and that Facebook does remove any content which is inappropriate.
A spokesman from The Association of Chief Police Officers said: “We understand that hate material can damage community cohesion and create fear, so the police want to work alongside communities and the internet industry to reduce the harm caused by hate on the internet.”